Newark 'pet detective' calls for puppy price cap to curb dog thefts

A self-styled "pet detective" is calling for a cap on the cost of dogs – to curb the trade in stolen animals.

Lisa Dean, from Newark, North Nottinghamshire, set up a volunteer service searching for people's lost and stolen animals after her own cat, Beauty, went missing in 2016.

She has helped hundreds of other owners since then, but says more needs to be done after a rise in incidents.

"Legislation on dog ownership needs to be tightened," she said. "Dog licensing needs to be brought back. But the one thing I would push for is to cap prices on dogs and then it wouldn't be lucrative and the crime would stop."

Lisa Dean started helping other owners after her own dog went missing. Credit: ITV News

Figures from Direct Line insurance group show that there were 324 reported dog thefts in West Yorkshire in 2020-21 – among the highest figures in the country. In South Yorkshire the figure was 158, with 49 in North Yorkshire.

Thefts in Yorkshire accounted for 11% of all reported thefts in 2020.

Lisa and her team use drones, cameras, and thermal equipment to look for missing animals.

She said: "The emotional impact, physical impact, financial impact that it has on these families is absolutely destructive."

Frankie Steels' husky dog Harlow went missing last September and is still not home.

She said: "You don't think it will be such a toll mentally. It's draining always having your phone next to you, not being able to sleep because you are waiting for that call."

The government has announced new laws to make dog abduction a specific offence punishable by up to five years behind bars.

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